The British & Irish Lions will dust themselves down after losing their unbeaten record to the Brumbies and be back at work in a positive frame of mind from Wednesday, according to 2009 Test full back Rob Kearney.
The Leinster and Ireland star made his first start for the 2013 tourists in Canberra, but couldn’t stop the Lions falling to their first defeat against a pumped up Brumbies side. The 14-12 reverse ended a run of five straight victories, but won’t affect morale..
With the first Test against the Qantas Wallabies due in four days time in Brisbane, Kearney says it is vital the Lions don’t get hung up on what happened in the Australian capital.
“It was one of the things that we spoke about, that the guys who played tonight have an onus to get back into the mix and hold our heads up high even though we might not really want to,” said Kearney, who played in all three Tests in South Africa..
“The big picture is Saturday. That's all that matters and we have to do everything to make sure that whatever 23 are selected are in the best frame of mind for it.
“We have to turn up for work tomorrow in a positive frame of mind – that's part of touring. It is what you buy into with the jersey when you go on a Lions tour. Everyone out here is first choice for their country or first choice for their province and that's just one of the obstacles that you need to overcome when you go on a Lions tour.
“This was my first start in six weeks, so I just wanted to get some time under my belt and put in as best a performance as I could. It wasn't really a night for full-back’, but that's the way it goes sometimes.”
“You don’t get too many chances with the Lions, but sometimes when you're least expecting a second chance you get it. There's one more midweek game to go and there will be injuries, as we've seen in every game.
“The attrition rate seems to be pretty high. So a lot of guys will get second chances.”
Lions skipper Sam Warburton said in Brisbane there was a strong desire among his squad to keep the unbeaten run going for as long as possible, but Kearney doesn’t believe one result will derail all the good work that has gone on to date.
“Most of the guys who were playing are disappointed, but it is important that we realise there is a bigger picture, which is Saturday and the three Test series. We need to get back on our feet pretty quickly,” he added.
“We will slowly realise that this is one set-back, it is not what the tour is going to be remembered for. If the 23 guys can get us back to winning ways on Saturday then tonight will be a distant memory.
“It won’t affect the team mentally. This week is all about Saturday and it still is. It would have been nicer if we had won and it would have given us greater momentum and there would have been a real high spirit within the camp, but I don’t think it will affect us hugely.
“Our performances have been pretty good up until now. You only get timely wake up calls if you deserve or need them and I think it would be a bit unfair to say we needed one. There were a lot of guys out there playing for the first time and it was a team that was put together over only the last few days.
“There were a lot of things that we should have done better, things that should be a given as professional rugby players. They were the things that we came up short of and that will be the most disappointing.
“In the first 40 minutes we lacked work rate and we lost the battle for field position. When the bench came on they made a difference and we got ourselves into a position to win it, but it was just too little, too late.
“It was a game we could have won, but one in which we played poorly on the night. “Had we been a little sharper in the first 40 minutes things might have been different.”